The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | Mother’s Day 2016 Special


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Good morning! Things have been busy this week, as I’m working on my touch-typing skills and studying to correct my weak points in Bengali script; the incredibly graceful but difficult conjunct letters (well, difficult for foreigner Ingreji speakers like me…). These letters combine short groups of consonants in one letter, and which join in what letter are not always apparent from the conjunct’s shape. But that’s cool, because the challenge makes it interesting and fun. I’ve created two virtual decks of flashcards, and started retrieval-practice sessions to learn by testing myself on the first such deck. So far, I’ve successfully recalled 117 letters twice, and 5 letters once, so I’ll work on recalling all four times in a row before continuing with the next deck. So, on other matters, (whispers) I’ve got a surprise for the Parental Unit™ this Sunday, while trying to get the new cat to stop snubbing her–rotten little beast! Ricky still seems reclusive, only coming out of his crypt at sundown to feast on the kibble of the living…well, at least he’s adorable even though hiding through much of the day! So, as I’m going through a disc of lectures, I bid you all to have an awesome, or at least a survivable, Sunday, and a good week ahead.

Stay brilliant!


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A. R. Rahman: “Jiya Jale” (Dil Se) Berklee Indian Ensemble (cover)

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | Blogcation Tremulations

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This blog has existed since late 2008, and this posting break the latest since December of 2010. The rate of traffic on the site has varied over the years, currently at around a few dozen page-views a day, on a normal posting schedule of about one per every other day.

A fair amount, I would say.

The peak traffic for this site was in 2010, at over 40,000 additional page-views for the entire year, upwards of 100+ page-views each day. I could probably continue that if I felt inclined, but I don’t.

From late 2008 to late 2010, I was involved heavily in publishing to the point of near exhaustion and neglect of my well-being.

This, of course, was a mistake. Hence, my first blogging hiatus, after posting nearly constantly for almost two years, was undertaken, inspired by that of my late friend and former fellow blogger, the pseudonymous Skeptic Cat, whose online handle was to be quickly abandoned, his blog deleted, about a year after we met via our mutual blogging hobby.

I found that to maintain my balance and to take on new projects, I could no longer post on the site at the level I did at the start. That results in periodic blogcations.

So, what do I do with days and often weeks of time not blogging?

I’m engaged in lifelong learning, and as many of you know, a small part of that involves the study of three languages of the Indian subcontinent: Bengali; Tamil; Hindi. And mellifluous tongues they are indeed.

There are other subjects of interest; math; symbolic logic; developing better study skills; critical thinking; public speaking; conversational skills; medical myths, lies, and half-truths; learning how to think like a scientist, or perhaps like Sherlock Holmes, take your pick; physical training for health and endurance in my older years — after all, I’m in my fifties and not getting any younger.

I’m rediscovering my old hobby of drawing in another series of lessons I’m taking. There are my fractals. There is occasional practice playing virtual instruments via GarageBand.

I’m still pretty bad at that last, by the way.

I’m working on developing my writing career. Each day, I write at least one page of…stuff, about 500 words of stuff, three pages of it if I can, on absolutely anything. Even if it never gets published or posted on this or other blogs. Much if it goes into a private journal, some of it here and elsewhere online. I’ve published my first book so far, and I’m currently putting the second on hold while I deal with organizing and studying from lecture notes and assignments taken from my course collection.

I’m developing my fictional universes; plot elements; historical timelines; alien species; languages, however alien or arcane; protagonists; villains; alien gods and eldritch horrors from Outside.

Only this last week I had a bunch of really cool ideas on better using such plot elements as time travel, interstellar travel, and journeys to other regions of the multiverse in one of my settings. More on that once I develop the concepts further.

It should be evident there’s no possibility of doing all this on top of life events, maintaining my treatment plan, and just doing what needs to be done day by day. There are other things I’m engaged in as well, including ongoing personal research on logical fallacies and cognitive biases.

It’s obvious from the above that I’ve a tendency to give myself too much to do, too many projects to embark on. I’ve grown too many heads on my hydra, as it were, too many tentacles on my kraken. Maybe. I’ll grant that possibility. There’s no way to finish all of these in the short-term, and in fact, no ending of it all short of my death.

But that’s the point.

When I first began blogging on my now-defunct WordPress site Troythulu’s Log on January 15, 2008, there was little in terms of off-time activities, little to do beyond routine necessities, and blogging was a good way to channel my energies into something different, challenging, and maybe even useful.

The gaming shop that I’d been visiting for decades had closed its doors earlier that same year, giving me a lot of time at home alone when not at my old volunteer work job or out with friends, and I was still recovering from my injury from 2007.

Blogging was new, and fun, and it still is, and I met a lot of interesting people, then and now. Skeptical blogging, or as I put it, skeptophrenic blogging, was a useful, and at the time, the only other way beside gaming to channel my energies into something that I enjoyed.

Now, I’ve so much else to help me stay busy, to keep striving for…what?

Does it really matter what?

I fail to see good reason to reject or dismiss the value of striving. Striving is something we humans do. We’ve been striving since before we were human, even in striving for purpose, for meaning. Striving is just what explorers do, to cross that next mountain, to ford that next river.

I’m as much for living in the present moment as any meditation advocate, and I’m a “being” person as much as a “doing” person, so I like constantly working on things, then moving on to the next project. It gives me satisfaction, as much as mindfulness practices can at times.

It contributes to meaning. It grounds me in the present, and in the enjoyment of the moment, as I make the most effective use of the time I have in this brief, precious life in an ever-changing universe.

So who cares if it’s only transitory? Even meditative states, perhaps caught up in oneness with the universe, or something else of that sort, are only transitory.

Everything is transitory, and nothing lasts, even being ever in the present, even being in the moment.

So I prefer to spend some of my waking hours in sometimes intense activity, others in relaxation, still others in routine activities that take little exertion. There’s mindfulness practice involved as well, and walks. Long walks on sunlit days.

That’s how I roll.


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xkcd: Famous Duos

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | The Rani of Stars

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G’day! I’ve finally finished  the image I’ve been working on, The Rani of Stars, and I’ve posted it below. May you all have a glorious Sunday and a happy week. I’ll try to do likewise, and of course for the cats.

It’s a cold and blustery winter here!


Rani_Of_Stars 1

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Why Does Fallout’s Nuka-Cola Quantum Glow Blue? (Because Science!)

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.08.30

This is the image of a consonant in Tamil alph...

This is the image of a consonant in Tamil alphabet generated by User:Sundar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Sunday. I’m currently engaged in deepening the level of detail for last weeks’s post on planet Bruticus, with a crunch-piece behind the actual science behind the natives’ biological spacecraft, thanks to commentators Anneliese and Ray – You’re both a huge help with this!

This week will also see the release of the concluding narrative for the #Tamil pure consonants. This one includes the remaining basic letters and their sounds, the laterals, fricatives, glides, and Grantha letters for those sounds borrowed from Sanskrit, and a Lovecraftian rather than silly theme for the mnemonic story is not out of the question.

It will conclude my study for this month, after which I switch learning time to #Hindi, focusing more on vocabulary and grammar, as well as spoken and written practice.

So, as always, be safe, well, and brilliant as the stars. You peeps are awesome.

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“Earth Angel” – No God But Funny contest winner

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.08.23

The symbol Om in the Tamil script

The symbol Om in the Tamil script (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Sunday! I’ve only a week left for Tamil study, but that’s cool, as I’m making some progress learning more of the sounds and script. I’ve got a few more left to go, and to get a bit more practice with the dependent vowel signs that join with consonants to make syllables, quite different from those used in Bengali or Hindi scripts.

I’ve completed a draft for the mnemonic story to be used for two classes of consonants, the stop and nasal sounds, and there shall be much proofing and editing before it is ready this next Monday morning, but ready it shall be. I’ll be updating the last installment of Lost in Translation on Tamil vowel mnemonics to offer some rationale for why the narrative was written and as oddly put as it was.

I’ve been listening to Tamil online radio, and so getting a feel for the spoken form in speech and song. Revising from previous study of Hindi and Bengali has turned out well, and it seems the learning of both scripts and their characteristic sounds is fairly solid. Save for some consonant conjuncts, I can read a fair amount of either language, and to the extent of my still-limited vocabulary, understand what’s written. I must be careful though, as I’m still a rank novice, and overconfidence is a very, very Bad Thing™.

I’ve good things planned for this week, including a new piece on the mythical Super Earth planet Bruticus, for an installment of Future Fluff, the Mighty Planet and its Unhallowed Moons as they figure in Kai’Siri legend and in the Gods of Terra setting’s “fact.” I’ve also started work on the draft for a filk-song tribute to Enya‘s “Trains and Winter Rains,” which will involve such wholesomely fun things as brains in vats, intelligent fungi, and the planet Yuggoth (Pluto), as described in the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Whisperer in Darkness.”

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Mister Deity and the Sting

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.08.02

English: Nandini Ghosal performing an Indian c...

English: Nandini Ghosal performing an Indian classical dance: Odissi at the Coffman Memorial Union in the University of Minnesota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whelp, a month of study gone by, another soon to recede from future to past, and a lot more learned. I’ve recently completed a course in Philosophy of Religion (even as one of those Vile Heathens™), Philosophy of Science (because Science!!), and this month I’ll be continuing an introductory Forensic Science course with a mixture of others on my viewing schedule.

In a couple of days or so, Tamil study resumes in earnest with continued revising on most other previous subjects. I’m having a blast learning languages from the South Asian subcontinent and thereabouts, my favorite region of the planet in terms of its diverse peoples and rich history, and I expect to continue doing so at least for a couple of more years into more advanced study.

None of this is currently being done at university. It’s all informal study.

I’ve decided on a new policy: To create a new fictional character each week, and learn a new word, in any language I know or am learning, each day. So far, keeping pace in my blogging and study activities has been fruitful. I multitask when I must, but I know I’m not that good at it, so I single-task on several things in sequence each day, making time to do what needs doing and readying tasks for later when that’s not possible.

Here’s a month full of wonders and with hope, more free of hardship and personal trials than usual for you all. I’ll be sprinkling a bit of Tamil vernacular in my posts as well as the speech of my alien Kai’Siri this month, and working on ideas for a new blog series, Lost in Translation, dealing in depth and context with particular words in a language being developed or studied.

Talotaa frang. Talotaa kas. Talotaa tranga suulaat.

Oh, heck. Just stay brilliant.

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How Big Could a TITAN Be in Real Life [Because Science…]

All fractal images in this post are original works by the author, and are copyright 2012 Troy Loy

Fractal making has a certain magic in the possibilities available for creating images, but let’s not worship the process as something mysterious even to the artist…

If one knows what one is doing it’s a science as well as an art — there are the rules that the software must obey to create pleasing images, defined by mathematics, some of it recent, much of it centuries old, and all of it certain within the formal systems of logic of both math and computer.

Nothing profligately mystical to see here. But no need to see anything like that either.

Still, there’s a sort of magic in fractal art, the wonder that unfolds in seeing and mentally traveling to impossibly surreal worlds and to those strikingly realistic images others have done, looking almost like photographs of actual objects and creatures…

It’s a sort of magic that as a skeptic I hope I never lose my taste for.

This week has be quite productive for me. I’ve completed several study sessions while imposing Internet breaks to reduce distraction, and that is good. Adaptive behavior has its benefits. The cats have been getting on really well, and our two males are just good furry little buddies with each other, despite the hijinks and their age difference. Eccles has really mellowed when Rocky moved in from the animal shelter!

Earlier this last Monday, I’ve posted Tips & Tricks for Fractalization among the Ranks,and I’ll add a 5th tip to these: feel free to violate any of the guidelines therein if you’ve reason to think doing so will result in better images. There’s also What’s Invisible? More than you think….

From Bug Girl’s Tumblr page I posted Klingon Style (Star Trek parody of PSY — GANGNAM STYLE),

Wednesday saw the posting of Fractal of the Midweek: Pyroflexagon and Bill Nye’s How to Talk to an Alien.

Yesterday saw the latest release from MelodySheep of Symphony of Science fame, Rise from Your Tomb! Frankenweenie remixed.

Over on ♥ Books, Crafts & Pretty things, BTW, Kate’s posted Leon Stumble’s Book of Stupid Fairytales, my latest guest post on her blog, Review of Carl Sagan’s The Varieties of Scientific Experience: a personal view of the search for God & a Cat Thursday guest post by her son… Pocket Purrer.

Kriss, on the six-pack blog has posted The Humanity Of It All, Oh…The Humanity.

On Left Hemispheres, there’s History of Atheism by Steven Goldman and On Blasphemy.

Also in the Gnuz, Nunavik berry pickers report sasquatch sighting

UFO case solved in Cincinnati

Trust amends Causeway centre ‘Creationist’ exhibit

Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being ‘chosen’

Punjabi atheists unite in Canada

Oh no…the washing machine exploded.

A Comet Fizzle Primer

‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’ mag threatens legal action against Simon Singh (UPDATED)

Shimon Schocken: The self-organizing computer course

Stats-wise this week has been good, with…

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Caturday’s Astronomy Pix will be posted later this evening, and it’s getting late. Good night, and enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Fractals, Lynx & Gnuz of the Week